Creating Breakthroughs with Lisa Haneberg

A while back when I first discussed the book More Space, one of the essays that intrigued me was Lisa Haneberg's Breakthrough Experiences:
"Those who have experienced and recognize breakthroughs know the specialness of these moments. Breakthroughs are like the rush of a turbo engine or the the joy that accompanies a mountain top epiphany. Breakthroughs help people produce amazing results. This essay explores several questions about breakthrough moments:
  1. What is a breakthrough, what does it look like?
  2. How well do people recognize breakthrough moments and does this matter?
  3. What are the characteristics of the moments before, during, and after, a breakthrough?
  4. What can we do to produce more breakthroughs?"
It's a great read - or listen, since it's available in MP3 format too!

Since More Space was published, Lisa has created a Two Weeks to a Breakthrough Program and has an upcoming book with the same title. On the blog Lisa recently posted a webcast entitled: 10 Ways to Generate Breakthrough Results. This 26 minute audiovisual presentation discusses ten steps to generating breakthrough results as well as the daily practice steps for the "Two Weeks to a Breakthrough" program.

The ten steps include:
  1. Decide where you want to go
  2. Broadly share your goals
  3. Take time, don't make time (I love this distinction)
  4. Change your conversations
  5. Align your context for success
  6. Enroll evangelists
  7. Determine what and who you need to know
  8. Open up the floodgates to ideas and input
  9. Get into action. Try something.
  10. Make at least 5 requests per week

The daily practice steps are:
  • Share - Tell 2 people
  • Act - Take 2 actions
  • Request - Make 2 requests

Intrigued? Check out the webcast:


You'll be glad you did!

Now if I could just work up the nerve to make those requests...

UPDATE: Welcome Business Innovation Insider readers, and thanks for stopping by! Feel free to check out some of my "best of" and recent posts if you have the time.

posted by Mike at 12:37 PM 0 comments


It's Moonshot Day!

Mark Brady over at Fouroboros has proclaimed today Moonshot Day:
"What a great idea for a book

Do you know what today, 7-20-2006 is? It's Moonshot Day.

Anybody out there? Sorry for the extended absence, most of my writing will still be offline til Labor Day.

But today seems a perfect day to explain a bit of why. Mike DeWitt of Spooky Action and I are writing a dead tree book. (Yeah, it'll have all the online bells and whistles also.)

It's called Moonshots & Tsunamis (colon and descriptor TBA), from a phrase we coined sometime back as shorthand for what gets people up off their butts and into doing extraordinary things. It's about change management. It's about innovation. It's about leading and feeling and thinking. And it's about strategies and models for those things. All of which means, it's about people, and what makes them rev and tick in this here 21st Century.

The premise is simple: Nothing gets done, and stays done, without a "Moonshot" or a "Tsunami."

Here's a little bit of what to expect:

M&T is about following your gut: the instincts and rule-sets God and Darwin gave you and which you, dear reader, have augmented with your experiences and education. The Various models and scientific or managerial explanations you'll encounter in the book are more often than not, rational supports--reason to believe or trust--in the face of an uncomfortable truth for some. We are creatures of amazing potential, but our actions and achievements are the products of emotion first and foremost.

The reason Mike and I wrote this book is simple: If logic, models, sage advice, facts and rules are all it takes to be successful in business or leadership or life, why do so many fail to achieve that success? Yes, you can lead a horse to water...

We believe that the models of others, from Six Sigma to the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, are often ineffective because, well, they belong to others. They are the fruits of someone else's experience and feeling. Someone has thoughtfully reverse engineered their particular understanding of the world and its challenges and offered it to us, packaged and bullet-pointed. They were probably very successful in applying it as a personal model, one that worked spectacularly for them.

The challenge comes when we try on another's custom-tailored suit. Whether I'm "moving someone else's cheese," or, indeed, explaining a thing called Moonshots & Tsunamis, there is often one person that's left out of the "How to?" and the "Who cares?" That person is us, in all our messy, unpredictable yet hopeful glory. So guess what? The one model we will attempt to exalt and explain over all others is you.

Sounds pretty ambitious, doesn't it? It is. And we will fail miserably in doing so. But, in trying to cut through the clutter of all the business and leadership ideas that leave you out of the equation, we will hopefully have credibly suggested some things that are quite rare for this type of book:

1. Life is much simpler than we suspect.
2. People don't know what they think, or how.
3. Emotion trumps logic.
4. Nothing gets done, and stays done, without a "Moonshot" or a "Tsunami"

Arriving at the sum of these four points will require us to delve into the assertions and models of others, some of which you may find in bookstores or on movie screens today. Other ideas you'll recognize as being thousands of years old, the products of collected wisdom, history and the Bill Gates's and Edisons of ages past. And, among other things, we will see that there are no new ideas, only old ideas applied in new and unexpected places.

You, dear Human reader, are an old idea, capable of new things, but often, misunderstoood.

A Tsunami. A Moonshot.

French mathematician, Blaise Pascal, said "The heart has reason that reason does not know." But, notice, he did not say that the heart and it's particular reason was unknowable. And there's the nub of why Moonshots & Tsunamis came to be.

Think back to the 1950s. We were consumed with thoughts of a Tsunami -- "The Red Menace," Sputnik, even rumours about the nefarious plots underlying the flouridation of water were everywhere. Amazingly, we had gone from one of America's shining moments, a true team effort ending with victory in World War II, to a decade of suspicion, anxiety and accusations. Sen. Joseph McCarthy and others roiled the waters of that Tsunami mindset with the Army-McCarthy Hearings and the House Unamerican Activities Committee. Hollywood stars were blacklisted, screen hero cowboys were now enemy suspects. Elementary school children were drilled to hide under their desks and dads were digging holes in the back yard for things called bomb shelters.

What a drag.

Then we had an election. John F. Kennedy became our 39th President. And he did a thing that many of us still regard as a highlight of the American resume. He took idle hands, and anxious heads and hearts and gave them focus. He took the potential energy of that Tsunami which, up to then, had been channeled to mostly narrow and limiting ends, and he turned it into a gift. He gave us a Moonshot, literally, and metaphorically.

Perhaps he did it intuitively. Natural leaders do such things all the time without really getting bogged down in the whys and wherefores. Maybe he was just just a very canny man. Either way, it's important to note that his transformation of Tsunami into Moonshot was done without the "aid" of focus groups, market testing, statistical analysis, or the fashionable business process of your choosing. It was the thing to do. He did it. And so did we.

Let's talk about how..."
Happy Moonshot Day everyone!

posted by Mike at 8:51 AM 1 comments


The Friction Between Christianity and Islam

In my last post I referred to Dan tdaxp's series Jesusism-Paulism, which described how Jesus and Paul defined the perfect fourth-generation warfare model of victory.

No, I'm not kidding. And if you read Dan's series you will move to a whole new level of understanding - of many things.

At the end of the last installment, Dan says: "Centuries later, Paul's creation would deform under the frictional heat of Islam."

But he never followed up.

Something tells me that understanding that friction is key to World Peace&trade. What could it be?

In his book "Crossing the Threshold of Hope", Pope John Paul II says:
"Whoever knows the Old and New Testaments and then reads the Koran, clearly sees the process by which it completely reduces Divine Revelation. It is impossible not to note the movement away from what God said about himself, first in the Old Testament through the Prophets, and then finally in the New Testament through His Son. In Islam, all the richness of God's self-revelation, which constitutes the heritage of the Old and New Testaments, has definitely been set aside."
In favor of what?


Let's play with models to see if they provide insight. If you read Jesusism-Paulism, you learned that the dangerous radical idea of Christianity was that everyone was equal in the eyes of God. The slave. The woman. All equal. The Roman Empire was exactly the opposite. Eventually, when the Empire wasn't strong enough to enforce inequality, it was forced to embrace the message of Jesus and Paul.

If Islam would rise and replace Christianity, what weakness would it exploit? MY natural reaction would be that the PISRR strength of Christianity would be countered by a rigid OODA loop of Islam.


posted by Mike at 7:52 PM 15 comments


Advanced OODA Loops, PISRR, and Implications for Change Management

In a comment to our OODA post, PurpleSlog referred us to Dan the Man's 'tdaxp'. A visit to Dan's blog can feel a little like a trip down Alice's rabbit hole, but I highly recommend it. His writings have fascinating implications for success in organizational change.

Let's begin with PurpleSlog's original link. The OODA loop in the original OODA post looked like the one in this diagram. PurpleSlog's comment was that in the Observe-Orient-Decide-Act loop, we spend most of our lives without the "Decide" step. We're running O-O-A loops on autopilot. We only employ the "D" step of creating hypotheses for how to deal with a new situation and evaluating them to decide on the best alternative when our current set of Orient-Act patterns don't work. Then the fun of modifying our Lattice of Orientation models begins.

If you review the contents of Boyd's Orient step, you'll see that it involves a complex set of interactions of various factors:
  • Genetic Heritage
  • Cultural Traditions
  • Analysis/Synthesis
  • Previous Experience
  • New Information
The big challenge is that each one of us has our own unique Orientation Machine, and they are definitely complex, not complicated. Most of our O-O-A loops are subconscious, using patterns we did not consciously create.

At this point you may be thinking: "Implications for change management?

"Abandon all hope; here there be monsters!"

Not so fast. Boyd didn't stop with OODA. He wanted to understand how to win not just the battle, but the war - and the ensuing peace - and that requires cultural change management. Through studying successful guerilla and counter-insurgent campaigns, he began to develop a model for doing just that.

Note: I am interpreting a lot of material. The original Patterns of Conflict in PowerPoint is here. A PDF of the real Patterns is here in PDF format. If you want to understand the full thought process that went into these ideas, I suggest you read them for yourself. It's a unique education.

Boyd realized that corrupt governments held onto power by employing menace, uncertainty, and mistrust among the population (think of the latter years of the Saddam Hussein regime). These heavy-handed tactics work to subdue the populace (for reasons we'll discuss in a subsequent post), but provide the proverbial "Achilles' Heel" that a guerilla force can use to defeat the regime.

Here is Boyd's reasoning beginning on page 123 of "Patterns of Conflict"

  • The essence of moral conflict, as presented, seems to be one-sided and emphasize the negative or dark side of one's moral make-up.

  • How do we bring out the positive side? In other words--if courage, confidence, and esprit represent the positive counterweights to fear, anxietyr, and alienation-what are the positive counterweights to menace, uncertainty, and mistrust?

  • In addressing this question we find that the counterweights to menace and uncertainty are not at all obvious unless we start with mistrust and work in reverse order. Proceeding in this way we note that:
    • The presence of mistrust implies that there is a rupture or loosening of the human bonds or connections that permit individuals to work as an organic whole in harmony with one another. This suggests that harmony itself represents an appropriate counterweight to mistrust
    • In dealing with uncertainty, adaptability seems to be the right counterweight. Otherwise, how can one adjust to the unforseen or unpredictable nature of uncertainty?
    • Finally, with respect to menace on cannot be passive. Instead, initiative is needed otherwise menace may obliterate the benefits associated with harmony and adaptability. Intuitively, this suggests that initiative is the right counterweight here.
  • Using these ideas, together with the previous ideas already uncovered, we can modify and enrich the essence of moral conflict as follows:

[Click on image to enlarge]

That slide points to the guerilla solution: create menace/uncertainy/mistrust among your enemy while simultaneously fomenting harmony/initiative/adaptability among yourselves and the populace. One key to success is adaptability, which Boyd categorizes as a combination of variety and rapidity - getting inside your opponent's OODA loops!!

Boyd later created a presentation entitled "Organic Design for Command and Control" which begins:
The past few years have seen the fiascos associated with Nifty Nugget and Proud Spirit C+C exercises together with the real world fiascoes epitomized by the evacuation of Saigon, Desert 1, and others.

The institutional response for overcoming these fiascos is: more and better sensors, more communications, more and better computers, more and better display devices, more sattelites, more and better fusion centers, etc.--all tied into one giant full informed, fully capable C+C system. This way of thinking emphasizes hardware as the solution.

I think there is a different way--a way that emphasizes the implicit nature of human beings. In this sense, the following discussion will uncover what we mean by both implicit nature and organic design.

  • Need Insight and vision to unveil adversary plans and actions as well as "foresee" own goals and appropriate plans and actions.
  • Need focus and direction, to achieve some goal or aim.
  • Need adaptability, to cope with uncertain and everchanging circumstances.
  • Need security, to remain unpredictable
  • Why insight and vision? Without insight and vision there can be no Orientation to deal with both present and future.
  • Why foucs and direction? Without focus and direction, implied or explicit, there can be no harmony of effort nor initiative for vigorous effort.
  • Why adaptibility? Adaptibility implies variety and rapidity. Without variety and rapidity on can neither be unpredictable nor cope with changing and unforseen circumstances.
  • Why security? Without security one becomes predictable, hence one loses the benefits of the above.
Boyd integrated these insights into a model known as PISRR:
  • Penetrate
  • Isolate
  • Subdue/Subvert
  • Reorient
  • Reharmonize

Here I take great license and propose that the PISRR model really breaks down into two pieces:
  • Penetrate-Isolate-Subdue
  • Subvert-Reorient-Reharmonize

The Penetrate-Isolate-Subdue portion is focused on disabling the enemy's ability to generate menace, uncertainty, and mistrust; in fact, it's designed to turn the tables and generate MUM in the enemy. Once that is accomplished, the second part of the solution - Subvert-ReOrient-Reharmonize - can take place. BUT ONLY ONCE SECURITY HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED!

In short, successful insurgent/counter-insurgent operations depend upon both military and non-military activities. The war is won in the minds and hearts of the populace. But a force designed for P-I-S work is unsuited for S-R-R work.

Here I must recommend that you read Dan's

description and analysis of PISRR for yourself. It'll only take a minute. I can wait.

Pretty interesting, isn't it? Especially this:

It suggests that there is a general model for seizing the initiative in effecting organizational change. It also implies that designing a "grand plan" for change in advance of implementing the plan is a folly. The S-R-R portion cannot be precisely modeled before it occurs.

Dan's writing gets really interesting when he shows that one of history's greatest example of these principles was the rise of Christianity within the Roman Empire!

[Note to Troy Worman: If you think I'm a little out there, you're going to think Dan's Jesus-Paul series is so far out there it's back around inside from the other direction. But you won't think of the world in the same way after you read it. And you'll know what we need to do to win the War on Terrorism.]

Now before I subject you to another picture of my less-than-attractive-visage (ugly mug), let me address the question of how these war examples relate to corporate change management efforts. Menace, uncertainty, and mistrust come in many forms. Some of those forms are policies and procedures. Some of them are the accumulated eons of corporate culture (1000's of employees x "we've always done it this way"). The common factor is that there are beliefs in your target population's brains that are stongly influenced by the M-U-M of the existing situation, and that to effect change you will need to P-I-S the limiting beliefs and S-R-R enough existing beliefs to make your employees embrace and internalize the new world view.

And yes, I've got specific tips on how to do that...in the next post! But you don't need me. How can you start using these principles now?

[Hint: Overlay these ideas on John Kotter's "See-Feel-Act" and 8-step change process. Any light bulb moments? Look harder!]

Boyd Style:

The force used to administer P-I-S is generally not the same one that will effect S-R-R. How does this realization align with the concept of change networks in organizational change management initiatives?

posted by Mike at 11:11 PM 6 comments

Maister on Pay-for-Performance Plans

David Maister's recently-completed podcast series Managing Professionals: Attitudes, Skills, and Behaviors is a really great resource for managers of any kinds of human beings. In the penultimate installment, entitled "You Cannot Manage Through Pay Schemes", he provides the most thorough trashing of pay-for-performance schemes I've ever heard. It's Bambi vs. Godzilla! But David doesn't stop at pointing out the weaknesses of pay-for-performance. He also outlines superior alternatives. I believe that we all should find a way to internalize this message and share it with management and HR organizations everywhere.

Thanks, David!

Note: Also check out David's new Business Masterclass series on Strategy.

posted by Mike at 11:18 AM 0 comments